Saturday, a 10-year-old boy in the Forrest City area was reportedly accidently shot in the foot while participating in a peewee football game. The person who fired the shot was believed not to have been attending the game. According to police the football field is adjacent to a wooded area where people occasionally hunt.

Saturday, a 10-year-old boy in the Forrest City area was reportedly accidently shot in the foot while participating in a peewee football game. The person who fired the shot was believed not to have been attending the game. According to police the football field is adjacent to a wooded area where people occasionally hunt.

A couple of New Year’s Eves ago, a Helena-West Helena man fired shots from an automatic weapon while standing on his front porch. A youngster who stepped outside momentarily to see what he apparently thought was fireworks was reportedly shot in the hand.

In our neighborhood, the sound of gunshots filling the air is almost getting to be a weekly ritual. When I moved to this community some 25 years ago I never would have believed that gunshots would be almost as common as hearing coyotes call out in the night in the secluded rural areas of our state.

I will never. I repeat, never get used to having to leave the comfort of my couch or love seat and move to another area of the house for fear of being struck by a stray bullet coming through my window.

I will defend to the death the right of citizens of this country to bear arms but in the same breath I will preach religiously against those who use them carelessly and without any regard for the safety of those around them.

Of course in this column I am preaching to the choir. However, I would love to get into an open debate with those who believe they can fire their weapons into the air as part of a New Year’s or Fourth of July celebration. Being a red neck or “just a little drunk” is no excuse. Anyone who fires a gun in a public place or in neighborhoods full of innocent children and seniors is for a fact, a blithering idiot. Case closed.

Hunters take firearm safety very seriously. So do law enforcement officials and gun enthusiasts who just like to take target practice.

The purpose of homeowners having guns is to protect their property. They are not toys.

With youngsters around, it is dangerous having guns in the house. However, with crime continuing to spiral out of control, they have become almost as much of a necessity as a vehicle.

My dad never owned a gun, or kept one in the house. To this day, I am not crazy about them but then again I never thought I would live long enough that it would be necessary, if not essential, to protect the lives of loved ones and the property you’ve worked so hard to obtain.

The blithering idiots I was talking about earlier also include those who believe that they know everything there is to know about a gun. Even experts make fatal mistakes.

Terry Kath was guitarist for one of my all-time favorite bands, Chicago. He collected guns and participated in target practice for relaxation on the range when the band wasn’t touring. One night Terry was cleaning one of his clip-load pistols. He had just gotten off the road and hadn’t slept much.

The band’s manager urged him to go to bed and rest and clean the weapon the next day. Terry began waving the gun close to his head. He reportedly said, “Look, there’s no clip in the magazine. What do you think I’m going to do shoot myself?”

The words had barely come from Terry’s lips when the gun discharged. He sank back onto the couch, dead from a single gunshot wound to the head. You see there was still a bullet in the chamber.

Please, please, please put your guns away if you’ve had too much to drink. Guns are not something to celebrate the holidays. When you use your gun for hunting or target practice, make sure you know where you are and determine who and what is around you before firing.

And above all take every precaution possible when cleaning, loading or unloading your weapon. Stay alive and keep others alive.

No one should have to worry about being shot when they go somewhere. However, we are living in a whole different world these days.